Taos County veterans, commissioners and other dignitaries will host a groundbreaking and ribbon-cutting for a veterans cemetery Monday (Aug. 14).
The ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Taos County Veterans Cemetery, located at 65 Arroyo del Alamo Circle, Ranchos de Taos.
A luncheon will follow at the New Mexico National Guard Armory, 1145 State Road 570, Ranchos de Taos.
U.S. Rep. Ben Ray Luján is scheduled to attend the event, according to his staff.
Gov. Susana Martinez created a state-level veterans cemetery program under the New Mexico Department of Veterans Services in 2013. Those cemeteries are to be built to federal standards and serve as complements to larger veterans cemeteries, such as the one in Santa Fe.
The county began working in earnest in 2014 on its plan to build a local veterans cemetery. After securing roughly $200,000 from the Legislature, the county commissioned artistic renderings and master plans.
Richard Sanchez, Taos County Construction Administrator, told The Taos News Tuesday (Aug. 8) the first 10 acres of the 20-acre cemetery have been fenced. A total of about $300,000 has been spent on the facility in the past two years, he said.
But much funding remains to be found and much work remains to be done before Taos County veterans can be laid to rest closer to home.
Sanchez said the county needs about $1 million to install between 2,500 and 3,000 concrete crypts, which are standard for veterans cemeteries. The design for the grounds includes a columbarium to house urns and a semiopen structure to host memorials.